How to Start an LLC in District of Columbia (DC LLC 2022)

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 TailorBrands - ($49 + State Fees) Online District of Columbia LLC Setup

How to Start an LLC in Washington D.C.: If you’re interested in setting up an LLC in DC, you’ve come to the right place. Having an LLC not only protects your personal assets but also is less complicated than other business structures. D.C.’s laws make it easy to establish your LLC in D.C. On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your District of Columbia LLC has been correctly established. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂


How to Start an LLC in Washington D.C.

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection.

If you wish to start an LLC in D.C., you mainly have to file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $220. There are some more steps to follow to get your LLC established in Washington D.C. The following steps explain everything you need to create your LLC in D.C. in 2022. Let’s get started! It is always recommended to hire a professional LLC formation service in Washington D.C. to set up your LLC.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Washington D.C. LLC

washington dc name your llc

The very first step while forming an LLC in DC is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

Washington D.C. LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Washington D.C. have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available and no other existing business in Washington D.C. can have the same name. Perform a name search from the below-mentioned source to be sure your name isn’t taken already.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “LC”, “L.C.”, and “Limited Company” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Washington D.C. State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
D.C. Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
D.C. LLC Name Search Guide – Instructions
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington D.C. 20090

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you have to file a name reservation application and pay $50 to reserve your name with the Washington D.C. Secretary of State. For more information read our guide on Washington D.C. LLC Name Search.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Washington D.C. Secretary of State by submitting the Trade Name Certificate by mail or you can file it online along with the filing fee of $55.

Recommended: You can do name search, get company logo, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –


 TailorBrands – ($49 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

TailorBrands offer DIY website templates and incredible logo designs. If you plan to get a website then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.company”, “.xyz” etc. With TailorBrands, you can get everything you need at an affordable price.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Washington D.C.

Washington dc registered agent

The second step to forming a D.C. LLC is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that will act or work on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Washington D.C.. Hence, hiring a competent Washington D.C. Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Washington D.C. or has a physical street address. Their business address or the principal address should be in Washington D.C. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC setup services, even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $49/year) you also get registered agent service and other services at a reasonable price.

LLC Service

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$49 + State Fees

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$299 + State Fees

  • Turnaround in a few days

  • EIN & Website Included

  • Operating Agreement Included

These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in Washington D.C.. Some LLC formation services offer standalone Washington D.C. registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services from them without purchasing any other LLC formation services.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person who is above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Washington D.C. can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One who is responsible for handling all the legal documents.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Washington D.C. and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Washington D.C.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Washington D.C.

washington dc certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a Washington D.C. LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Washington D.C. Articles of Organization is a legal document needed to officially register your business with the Secretary of State. It costs $220 (online and by mail filing) and $320 (In-person drop-off) to file your formation certificate in Washington D.C.. (Read more on LLC cost in D.C.).

The Certificate of Formation includes details like the name of the LLC, registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and structure of the company (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in D.C. LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) to Washington D.C. then you need to register as a Washington D.C. Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the Home Page. If you have subscribed to their official portal then Sign-in with your credentials. If you are not a subscriber yet, then you need to sign-up. Click the button below to sign-up on the portal. Read more about the Washington D.C. Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Washington D.C. LLC registration, then you can download form DLC-1. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and send it to the address mentioned below.

Mailing Address: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, D.C. 20090

In-Person Submission:
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
1100 4th St. SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

Processing Time: It takes 5 to 7 business days to form an LLC in Washington D.C. if filed online. For filing by mail or in-person drop-off, it takes up to 3 weeks. You can speed up the process by paying additional expedited fees. However, the time can be different due to various factors.

Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents within 6-8 days with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –


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Step 4: Create Your Washington D.C. LLC Operating Agreement

washington dc operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a Washington D.C. LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation. Like Washington D.C., there are other states that do not have a mandatory rule to file operating agreements. But, this document would be useful if you decide to dissolve Washington D.C. LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary but it is definitely ideal.

Recommended: You can get operating agreement templates at only $29 with TailorBrands. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –


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Step 5: Filing a Washington D.C. LLC EIN

washington dc file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Washington D.C. LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Washington D.C. foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant who can help you with the process.

Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –


 TailorBrands – ($49 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.

Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Washington D.C. LLC. If you do it yourself it should take you a long time to properly understand and do all the steps.

However, if you use TailorBrands, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option as well as phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.

After Starting Your Washington D.C. LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of Washington D.C. LLC

Forming an LLC in Washington D.C. is no doubt more cost-effective than other structures of a business. There are some fees and charges one has to bear to form a Washington D.C. LLC. LLCs have pass-through taxation. Hence, your Washington D.C. LLC won’t bring you a massive tax burden. Here are some of the fees and taxes are needed to be paid while forming an LLC in Washington D.C.,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee$50 for 120 days
Certificate of Formation Fee$220
Biennial Report$300
Sales Tax6%

In Washington, LLC name reservation is mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then a Name Reservation is needed. It can be registered by paying $50. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days. In some states, Name Reservation is not mandatory. Read more in our guide on LLC cost in Washington D.C.  

Washington D.C. Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in Wahington D.C. then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Washington D.C. Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the Washington D.C. SOS to form your foreign LLC in D.C. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Washington D.C. Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in the District of Columbia

Starting an LLC or any type of business in the District of Columbia, also known as Washington D.C., will be profitable for small businesses. With a capital investment of $3.36 billion, Washington D.C. has become one of the strongest economies in the United States. Being the capital city of the United States, D.C. offers many benefits to the businesses while they start their LLCs in Washington, D.C.

Tax Benefits

There are a series of tax benefits provided by the state government to the LLCs and new businesses. Read more on the D.C. classification of LLC tax. Following are the tax incentives one can expect – 

  • Job and employment opportunity benefit of $15,000 per year
  • Tax benefits up to 10-years for using personal property to operate your LLCs in the state. 
  • First 5-years no corporate franchise tax is to be paid. From the 6th year, it would be a 6% annual rate. 
  • No tax on the real property for up to 5 years

Main Street Programs

In Washington D.C., there are some comprehensive programs which are called Main Street Programs. Under this program, traditional businesses are encouraged to revitalize again. Any new LLC registered in the state can enjoy these programs’ benefits if they are involved in D.C.’s traditional businesses. Georgetown, Eastern Market, North Capitol are some of the main street programs.

Loans and Grants for Small Businesses 

Another reason for starting an LLC in Washington D.C. is the loans and grants the state government provided to the small businesses. Some of the important loans and grants programs are as follows – 

  • On the Job Training Program – Under this program, up to 75% of the total wage paid to the trainees can be reimbursed. Up to 1040 hours can be reimbursed under this program. Any new LLC can register under this OJT program if they have a size of a minimum of 100 employees.
  • Anacostia Economic Development Corporation Program – The program, initiated by the AEDC, is administered for small businesses. Under this program, if the LLCs are involved in facade improvement projects, they can get up to 75% of the project’s total capital cost.
  • The Community Development Financial Institute Program – This program is designed to improve financial institutions and structures in the state. The government has already spent $2.3 billion on this program. They provide loans and grants to small businesses to improve the financial structure of the state. 

Best Businesses in the District of Columbia

If you want to form an LLC in the District Of Columbia, then you possibly have a business idea in your mind. If not, then you should look at the best options available below.

Recycled Material

If you look around in the District of Columbia’s industries, many people are fond of using showcases and furniture made of old and recycled materials. If you think you have some extra innovative skills, you can enter the recycled materials business and make products out of waste. If people start liking what you are offering, you can charge according to your skillset and maybe more.

Environmental Friendly Product Business

District of Columbia’s residents keep extra care of the environment. Their love for the environment can be easily seen through the products they are using. That is why there is a huge scope of starting the business of environmentally friendly products. All you need to do is find the best products in the market and start the business.

Subscription-Based Businesses

The next business that is rising in the District of Columbia is subscription-related businesses. Every month there is a growth of 1% in subscription-based businesses. That is, there is a never-ending demand for subscription-based businesses. The subscription may be related to anything like food, accessories, etc. You have to select the niche in which you have the maximum interest and earn the maximum profit.

The next business that is gaining massive popularity in the District of Columbia is legal services. It is the capital state of the United Nations of America due to which the legal work in the state is at its peak and also the demand for a reliable legal services business. That is why to enter the business; you need to offer value to your legal clients and see how your business booms.

Here are businesses with some low investment

  • Breweries business
  • Nursery Farms
  • Online advertisement business

District of Columbia LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in D.C. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your Washington D.C. LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In Washington D.C., it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in D.C. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Washington D.C. but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in District of Columbia

When filing via mail, Washington DC LLC may take upto 3-4 weeks. While online filing procedure may take 5-7 business days. For speeding up the process, you can pay an additional fee to the state.

Getting started as an LLC in the District of Columbia is relatively easy. However, you should be aware of the requirements before you begin. You will need to register your LLC with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and select a registered agent. You may also need to obtain a license. If you plan on doing business in Washington DC, you will also need to pay state taxes and payroll taxes. You can find more information on tax requirements at the District of Columbia’s business tax website.

Depending on your business needs, you can form an LLC in the District of Columbia in as little as five days if you file online. You can also submit your LLC formation documents by mail or in person. However, filing online is the quickest and most convenient option. You can file for your LLC online through the DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) website. You will be able to select a registered agent and complete the Articles of Organization form.

The District of Columbia also requires you to file an annual report. This is a requirement for every LLC that is formed in the District. The annual report is actually more of a biennial report, as you need to update information on the form every one to two years. You will need to fill out a form and pay a fee for this report. It is considered a must for LLCs, and you can find an online form to file your report here.

You may also want to consider filing an “expedited” report. An expedited report is a report that can be filed on behalf of your LLC by a third party company, such as SunDoc. This service can also file other reports on your behalf. You will need to pay an additional $100 for the expedited report.

Choosing the right business name is also an important part of launching your LLC in the District of Columbia. The name should be memorable and convey the services or products you will be offering. It should also be different from other business names in the DC area. For example, you may want to name your LLC “Coffee Shop” instead of “Cafe.” This will help you market your business more effectively. You may also want to include the words “brew” or “coffee” if you run a coffee shop.

When you choose a registered agent, you need to make sure they are a Washington DC resident. They must also have a physical address in DC. You can hire a professional or choose to have your family member or friend as your agent. They will receive government correspondence on your behalf. They can also be a member or manager of your LLC. You will also need to choose a registered agent if you want to use the name “LLC.” You may also wish to name your business after yourself.

If you don’t like the process of putting together your LLC’s documents, you may want to consider hiring a company that specializes in forming LLCs. Companies like DoMyLLC offer support and assistance to DC business owners. Choosing a company like this can help you avoid expensive fines and keep your business funds separate from your personal ones.


Can I file an LLC in Washington D.C. by myself?

If you are a resident of Washington D.C., then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in Washington D.C. in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $220 (domestic LLC) and $220 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Washington D.C. include $300 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 6% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Washington D.C.?

It takes 5-7 business days to get an LLC in D.C. if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 3 weeks to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend TailorBrands which has impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in Washington D.C.?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit a Biennial Report instead of Annual Report and pay $300 to the Washington D.C. Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in Washington D.C.?

Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Washington D.C. Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start an LLC in District of Columbia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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